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Commonweal Theatre Company announces 16th Annual Ibsen Festival

Fri, Mar 8th, 2013
Posted in Lanesboro Arts & Culture

Lanesboro, Mn - The Commonweal Theatre Company announces its 16th Annual Ibsen Festival is April 12-14 in downtown Lanesboro. Named for the acclaimed “Father of Modern Drama,” the Festival, a celebration of Scandinavian theatre, visual art, music and dance, is centered around the opening of Commonweal’s annual Ibsen production. This yearly gathering of artists and craftsmen was honored in 2008 by the Norwegian Government, who awarded the Commonweal Theatre one of only four inaugural International Ibsen Scholarships in recognition of its ongoing commitment to producing the works of one of the world’s premiere playwrights.

The highlight of the Festival is the opening of Commonweal Theatre’s annual Ibsen production with a preview performance Friday, April 12th and grand opening performance Saturday, April 13th at 7:30 pm with an Opening Night Reception to follow. This year, the theatre will present A Doll’s House which centers on a young wife who is forced to make a shocking decision when a prior misdeed threatens to destroy her perfect household. The weekend will also feature an encore performance of the 2013 Commonweal Apprentice Company production of Miss Julie by August Strindberg in a new adaptation by Apprentice Ethan Bjelland on Sunday, April 14 at 11am.

A Doll’s House is directed by Executive Director Hal Cropp, and features resident ensemble member Stef Dickens as Nora Helmer, a woman desperate to keep her ideal home intact in the face of a secret that could unravel it. The cast also includes Commonweal resident ensemble members David Hennessey, Megan K. Pence, Daniel L. Stock, Jeremy van Meter and annual company member Carla Joseph.

The script for A Doll’s House has been adapted by renowned Minnesota playwright Jeffrey Hatcher, whose credits include Compleat Female Stage Beauty, Scotland Road and Three Viewings, and adaptations of Jean Anouilh’s To Fool the Eye and Henry James’ Turn of the Screw, also produced by the Commonweal Theatre in 2006 and 2010 respectively. This is the fourth Ibsen adaptation created for the Commonweal by Mr. Hatcher as part of a series of new versions of Ibsen’s plays developed for the American stage, beginning in 2010 with John Gabriel Borkman, An Enemy of the People in 2011, last season’s Pillars of Society and slated to continue in 2014 with Brand.

The Ibsen Festival offers events and presentations throughout the weekend to satisfy a variety of interests. Guests may attend lectures, film presentations, musical concerts, and artist displays. The Commonweal is proud to welcome Astrid Sæther, from the Centre for Ibsen Studies at Oslo University and Nissar and Amal Allana from Dehli, India. Dr. Allana is the director of The Dehli International Ibsen Festival. Ms. Allana is the Head of Acting at The Dramatic Art & Design Academy in Dehli. Ms. Sæther will discuss the legacy of Ibsen on human and women’s rights and the ways the Norwegian government has used Ibsen’s works to advance these causes. Ms. Allana will present on Ibsen’s influence on social and cultural thinking in Indian and beyond. Finally, Dr. Allana will discuss his experiences bringing Ibsen from the 19th century into the 21st century in India through the Delhi Ibsen Festival, as well as the intercultural importance of Ibsen’s work.

Festival events officially begin Friday evening, April 12th, at The Commonweal Theatre at 6:30 pm with an art reception showcasing selected pieces of jewelry by Crown Trout Jewelry goldsmith/artist Liz Bucheit. Ms. Bucheit has created a series of pieces inspired by Ibsen’s greatest heroines. The reception will begin with remarks on the work by Ms. Bucheit and then the pieces will be on display at the Commonweal throughout the entire weekend. At 7:30 pm, festival-goers can choose between attending the final preview performance of A Doll’s House onstage at The Commonweal, or a presentation of “Over The Back Fence” – a community variety show – next door at the St Mane Theatre which will include a special appearance by the cast of Miss Julie.

Saturday, April 14th, offers an entire day and night’s worth of activities, including a Krumkake baking demonstration/tasting at Lanesboro Local as well as the second annual Ibsen Festival Kubb (also known as Viking Chess) tournament in Sylvan Park. The Commonweal Theatre Events Hall will be set up all day offering coffee and old fashioned, handcrafted Scandinavian treats from A Little Decadence. Enjoy a coffee break and view the costume and jewelry exhibit, as well as featured video presentations.

The Commonweal Theatre will host several events in its own building on Saturday. Including the keynote addresses, members of Tapestry Folkdance Center in Minneapolis will share a presentation and demonstration of the Tarantella, a form of dance featured prominently in A Doll’s House and longtime Commonweal costume designer Janis Martin will be displaying her “Ibsen’s women” costume designs.

All weekend long, Scandinavian cuisine will be featured at Pedal Pushers Café and The Old Village Hall, and Scandinavian specialty drinks will be available at local pubs. Throughout the run of A Doll’s House, visitors to the Commonweal may view the three-dimensional art exhibit -To be a Poet is to See: Ibsen in Our Time, a gift from the Norwegian government. A complete schedule of Festival events is available by calling (800) 657-7025 or going online to www.ibsenfest.org. For more information about the 2013 Ibsen Festival, contact Adrienne Sweeney at (507) 467-2905 x208 or adrienne@commonwealtheatre.org.

Funding for Commonweal Theatre’s programming is provided in part by a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and private funders. Ibsen Festival Funding to provide for the appearance of Dr. and Ms. Alana is made possible through the generous support of The Royal Norwegian Embassy, Washington D.C. Support for Ms. Sæther comes through a grant from the American-Scandinavian Foundation.

For more details, including information about schedules, tickets, and other Commonweal programs, visit www.commonwealtheatre.org or call the Box Office at (800) 657-7025.

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